BET CMO Explains Changes That Lead to Network's Ratings Renaissance

Janet Rolle on Its Guiding 'Brand Pillars'

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BET is having its best year ever. But as recently as 2007, its ratings were at a standstill and the network was viewed as a risky environment for major marketers like State Farm and Home Depot, who pulled their ads from a reality show called "Hot Ghetto Mess." Not to mention Procter & Gamble Co., which was urged by watchdog groups to pull its ads from controversial shows (it ultimately resisted). That obviously posed a challenge for the network and for Exec VP-Chief Marketing Officer Janet Rollé.

BET Networks had to get back to its roots: its audience. Ms. Rollé teamed up with BET's research team to better understand what the BET brand meant to black consumers in a post-Obama America. After polling more than 70,000 African-Americans, Ms. Rollé was able to identify five key consumer segments, or "brand pillars," of BET's audience: "We Are Family" (family-oriented, parent-friendly), "Fresher Than That" (trend-setting, music-focused) "Shine a Light" (politically aware), "Backing Black Dreams" (aspirational, career-focused) and "Not on Our Watch" (socially conscious, cause-minded.) These would be the five key tenets on which everything at BET was measured against, from programming to marketing messages to talent. -- READ MORE

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